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difference. >> and a little bit of a lighter note, ben affleck mentioned his film "argo," poked a little fun at the hollywood version of the state department saying the real one where he was today was much more impressive. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for joining me. see you tomorrow. "the lead" with jake tapper begins right now. it's a red state, quite a red state, but did texas just open the door to same-sex marriage? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead. did you ever think you'd see the day that same-sex couples married in the lone star state? the state ban on same-sex marriage was just ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, but maybe grooms should hold off on ordering those matching stetsons, at least for now. also in national news, it's literally the choice of a new generation. the government deciding whether three parents can pitch in dna to create the perfect bundle of disease-free joy. will you soon be able to
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customize a baby like you customize a new car? and the world lead. no ex-pope has had to justify leaving the vatican in centuries. because there hasn't been another ex-pope since the 1400s. but pope benedict is answering all the questions you wanted to ask about his historic exit. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the national lead, a breaking story probably landing well in austin, that liberal refuge in the middle of texas. as for the rest of the lone star state, well, that remains to be seen. a federal judge a short time ago struck down texas' ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that it has no, quote, rational relation to a legitimate government purpose. but that does not mean same-sex couples should start flocking to city halls in dallas or houston or san antonio or anywhere in texas just yet. the judge has stayed enforcement of hiss decision for now pending
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an appeal, and appeal it texas will. state officials are expected to take their case to a federal appeals court in new orleans. the republican governor of texas, rick perry, released a statement that reads in part, "texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to dee fine marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our constitution. and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens." the southwest is something of a crucible for the latest battle over gay rights. arizona, of course, is is in the middle of a heated debate over a bill that opponents are framing as a license to discriminate against those in the lgbt community. support let's bring in our cnn analyst to talk about this. paul, thanks for coming in. this was supposed to be a states rights issue, but it seems in a way that the dominos are falling. >> yes. the dominos are falling quickly. of course those who oppose what
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they call judge-made laws are saying this is horrible because this is really against democracy because the voters of texas actually by referendum adopted this constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. however, we saw the beginning of this in california. we saw it in another federal circuit court in new york. and the wholing was this. the 14th amendment of the united states constitution, which overrides all local constitutions, says if you are going to single out certain people and treat them differently, you better have a really good reason for doing that. and the lawyers call it compelling state interest or strict scrutiny. in the end it means you better have a real good reason. and this federal judge said, you know something, there's no good reason to treat gay people differently with respect to marriage. and he's held it unconstitutional. so this is a conservative court normally, a conservative jurisdiction, so this is a very, very important decision. >> and greg abbott, the attorney general, who was also running
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for governor, issued a statement saying that texas would appeal this decision and ultimately he believed that this was going to end up in front of the u.s. supreme court. the u.s. supreme court has, of course, weighed in on same-sex marriage, but they haven't weighed in full throatedly. do you think this is going to end up at the supreme court? >> yes, i think it will because ultimately the federal courts in other areas will weigh in with different decisions. this is such an important national question that i think ultimately it will wend its way to the supreme court for final resolution. >> if the federal law is becoming more inclusive and the state laws are being struck down, what sort of legal options does that leave opponents of same-sex marriage? are laws like what's being proposed in arizona something of a work-around? >> well, yes, that arizona law i think is a blueprint to try to ban, you know, gay marriage and to permit discrimination against gay people. and it's being done under the guise of a local ordinance.
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it reminds me, jake, of what happened in the united states when segregation was outlawed back in the early 1950s, and it one really until the civil rights law of 1964 under lyndon johnson that a bunch of court decisions that had said black people should be treated equally, it was only when congress acted for the whole country that things started to settle down. and we're going through that period now, and i think you'll see a lot of attempts to fight this concept. people are uncomfortable with it. there are religious reasons that people have. so it's going to be a tough fight. >> of course we're waiting for a decision from arizona governor jan brewer on that controversial bill, the right to refuse service bill. paul callan thanks for your time. >> thank you. turning to the world lead, as anyone who's ever seen a picture of a shirtless vladimir putin will tell you, the russian president loves a good muscle flex. while neighboring ukraine is in chaos with protesters killed in the streets, police taken hostage and ukraine's president
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hiding from what's left of the government, with all that going on, vladimir putin is saying what better time than now to hold war games right by the boarder? surprise military drills involving 150,000 russian troops, a show of muscle by russia, the very country whose influence many of those ukrainian protesters wish to escape. what is russia up to here? let's bring in peter brooks, former deputy assistant secretary of defense and currently senior fellow for national security affairs and the heritage foundation. thanks for being here. russia denies these surprise war games have anything to do with the unrest in ukraine. do you believe that? >> no. this is a groucho marx routine. who you going believe, me or your own eyes? they're saying this was preplanned months ago. i don't believe it. it's a show of strength, signaling to everybody this isn't over yet, and russia i think is telling people if things go bad in ukraine there could be other things coming. >> of course a big fear of the white house, the u.s., and the
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european unyuunion -- >> nato. >> -- that russia may send troops in. the white house issued a statement today saying we urge outside actors in the region to respect ukraine's sovereignty and territorial yal integrity and end provocative rhetoric. outside actors? whoever could they be talking snabt. >> you never know. poland. right? they're trying to be fair. they're saying we're talking to russia, to anybody else, but they're really talking to russia in diplomatic talk. >> what could turn these russian drills into the real thing? any provocation from ukraine or that region that could send russian troops across boarder? >> unfortunately, yes. i'm a little worried. i don't want to go out on a limb and i don't think russian tanks will necessarily roll into ukraine, but there are ethnic russians in the eastern part of the country. ukraine, i think about georgia
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in 2008 where there were exercises between the russians went in. so russia has a lot of interest there. there's violence perhaps against ethnic russians and ukraine, i wouldn't rule it out. >> interestingly, the polish foreign minister just told christiane amanpour today that the thing that got ukraine president yanukovych in his view to step down was a phone call from vladimir putin. why would putin want yanukovych to step down? it seemed like yanukovych was doing what he wanted. was it this guy has no support -- >> move on. yeah. we don't know what sort of support yanukovych had of the ukrainen military, but that might have been the next step. putin might have said this isn't going well for you, time to move on, and probably feels he has others he can turn to ukraine in the future. >> do you think having a rudderless, leaderless ukraine is more in russia's interest in the short term than even
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yanukovych? the protesters went away for the most part. >> yanukovych was without support anywhere so best to move on. i see your point. but putin must have said it's time for you to go. i think yanukovych shows up in russia. i think he'll show up there at some point. >> we'll see. >> that's right. we'll see. >> peter brooks, thanks. next on "the lead," scientists can do it, but should they? the federal government joins s the debate over using three parents to create a baby. could the procedure use to so-called design eer babies? and why ben affleck and seth rogan made their way to capitol hill today.
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welcome back to "the lead." imagine a world where babies were born with dad's eyes and mom's nose and other mom's smile, that's right, other mom as in a third genetic parent. some fear this could happen if the fda approves a controversial procedure that would create embryos with three genetic parents. the technique is the focus of a two-day panel, debate being held by the food and drug administration today. researchers who support it say it would help prevent dna mutations from being passed down to babies by replacing certain defective cells in a woman's egg with healthy cells from another woman. we're talking about cells that can lead to serious if not fatal genetic diseases. right now the technology is only being tested in monkeys but critics fear we could be on a slippery slope to an rather of designer babies where parents can pick and choose their child's deje nettic features. joining me to discuss this
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procedure is professor art caplan. you say the research has convinced you that this technique should be pursued. what do you think about the concerns that this technology amounts to playing god or could eventually lead to so-called designer babies? >> well, the technique itself, jake, is pretty simple. it's replacing damaged batteries in cells by taking them from another egg and putting them into a woman who's got a history of genetic diseases. those batteries that give energy to cells that don't work right. that in itself is not the road to eugenics and picking the traits of our children. what it is, however, is breaking a rule. that rule was we wouldn't make changes that would be passed on generation to generation. that is happening. these changes in the embryo that results from all this transfer of stuff be will go on and on to future generations. so i support the technique
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trying to fix genetic diseases in kids by doing genetic engineering seems to me not only ethical but noble. got to be sure it's safe. got to be sure you've done it enough in animals to make sure you have a reasonable chance it will work. do i worry about getting to a future where we get smarter, stronger, taller babies? i do. but i wouldn't hold these kids hostage to worries about that future. >> now to step back a little, a different technique that also combined dna from three parents was used in 2001 and it was at the time considered a success. there were several children, several dozen who were born using that process. it was later banned over ethical concerns. did the fact that it was shown to work at least in the short term with these kids who are now 13, 14 years old help to shape your views on -- >> it did. >> explain. >> it did, because the evidence was that at least you could do it and you seemed to get healthy
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babies. i have to confess those kids haven't been tracked since their birth to make sure they don't have big problems. but it looked good at the time. we have had animal work done now on this technique we're talking about, not a lot, but enough to sort of say, you know, it's probably time to try it in humans. i think the safety is, you know, good. it's never perfect when you're refine something. but to repair those diseases, which are awful, those kids who have mite continochondrial dise, and take a shot as transplanting a few number of genes to let that repair go through, that seems reason to believe me. >> right now of course parents who are doing ibf are able to screen for cystic fibrosis, but they're also able to do gender selection. does that concern you at all? >> it does. and, in fact, you know, it's part of the reason you have to worry we aren't in a march down the road using genetics toward designing our descendants. we are seeing families who are fertile go to the ibf clinic and
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say, you know, i'm worried about breast cancer risk, i'm going to make embryos, test them and sort them out. that already happens. if you went to any kindergarten private school in the united states and saw how much money parents spend to try and get a perfect kid, tennis camps when they have the means to do it or, you know, fancy language lessons, we're a society that values success. we're not anti-perfection. if we're going to stop that, then let's make a rule that says fixing diseases, yes, cosmetic stuff, no. but i wouldn't hold this experiment hostage to that worry. >> professor caplan, thank you so much. appreciate it. ? thank you. up next, thousands of papers from bill clinton's presidency that have been kept hid frn view for more than a decade. they soon could be made public. but will the clintons fight their release? plus, he fought for his life surviving an ied and sniper fire while watching his army brothers die, but as the pentagon slashes its budget, could the battle be lost?
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the politics lead now. with all the talk of 2016 and the controversy swirling around chris christie, made a golf metaphor today at a town hall me meeting, an almost wistful one, one that's turning a lot of heads. >> i'm not worried about politics anymore, anybody. this is it. i'm on the back nine. and when you're on the back nine and you don't have to worry about playing another front nine, your only obligation is to tell people the truth. mm-hmm. >> christie's folks insisted he was only referring to his second term in the governor's office, not ruling anything else out. but if he sounded a little down, maybe it's because he saw this, a new poll from cbs news and "the new york times" showing that 41% of republicans do not want to see governor christie run for the white house. last night on "late night," seth meyers referenced another potentially troubling number for the governor. >> a new poll shows that half of new jersey residents believe
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chris christie was involved in the bridgegate scandal. half of them. while the other half know how to keep their frigging mouths shut. >> speaking of 2016, it could be a paper tiger or political land mine for hillary clinton. more than 30,000 pages of clinton white house documents are still being kept out of public sight despite a law that should have been released last year as historical records. some but not all of those documents could soon see the light of day and potentially cause more trouble for the former secretary of state if she decides to run for president. our senior political correspondent brianna keilar is in florida where hillary clinton is speaking this afternoon. briana, what kind of documents are we specifically talking about here and what's the hole-up? >> reporter: well, jake, some of these documents would relate to federal appointments. but more interestingly, some of these documents have been held because they are confidential communications to and from the
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president or between advisers so you can imagine that may involve hillary clinton. of course she spearheaded president clinton's effort pass health care reform during his administration. it's unclear, is the bottom line, why these have been withheld. they should have come to light about a year ago in january of 2013, a 12-year hold by law expired. so it's unclear, but the national archives tells cnn that there is this batch of 33,000 that i just described what they are that will be released by the end of march. of course there's still other documents that will not be released, jake, that will continue to raise questions, as you said. >> of course there's a political calculation here. by law the papers can be withheld for up to 12 years after a president leaves office, but potentially what do you think is more damaging, opening up the vault, letting the chips fall where they may or a possible legal fight to keep them under lock and key? >> reporter: well, it's really
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sort of the choice of what's i guess not so bad, because both are not great options when it comes to hillary clinton, who is obviously weighing whether or not she's going to throw her hat in the ring for 2016. but talking to those today, jake, who are in her camp, they say the best thing is just to get these documents out. they're not just these 33,000 documents but other ones that remain. they say without doing that it looks like there's a transparency problem and that's going to hinder hillary clinton as it has in the past. they say they don't think that there's some smoking gun. when people are in the white house they generally know that all of their documents are going to be sort of scrubbed in the way that these are being, and so they don't think that that's really going to be a huge problem. they do admit, though, that there will be something in these that will allow republicans to pounce and look back to the '90s in a way that certainly isn't going to flatter bill clinton, isn't going to flatter hillary clinton, but a choice between the two of these things, the
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folks i've spoken to say that they need to be released even though it may hurt initially. >> more episodes of "i love the '90s." no doubt. >> exactly. up next, head to head over sexual assault laws. two senators, both democrats, both women. kirsten gillibrand from new york joins me next and says why her missouri colleague is wrong. and pope benedict takes aim at spreading rumors about him. how he's explaining his resignation and his wardrobe. i always say be the man with the plan
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welcome back to "the lead." in other national news, nearly 600 service members have been disqualified from jobs that are considered positions of trust like recruiters, sexual assault counselors, and drill sergeants. that's because an internal army review found them to be involved in violations like sexual
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assault and child abuse and drunk driving. meanwhile, a subcommittee of the senate armed services committee held a hearing earlier today listening to heartbreaking testimony from victims who were sexually assaulted while serving their country in the military. >> i joined the marines in order to serve my country as an honorable man. instead, i was thrown away like a piece of garbage. >> during the initial training none of us received any training in what to do regarding in a real sexual assault situation. the truth was at that point i had to google what to do when it happened to me e. >> senator keirsten gillibrand chaired that subcommittee hearing earlier today and joins us from capitol hill. senator, good to see you. thanks for joining us. you argue that the military commanders should not have control over whether to move forward in these kinds of cases because you believe that reporting and punishments will both improve for the victims if
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it's taken out of the chain of command. but there is this independent panel chaired by a woman with a mostly female composition did not find evidence it would increase reporting. is there evidence you have that taking it out of the chain of command will protect the victim, increase reporting or increase punishments? >> i have the evidence of most of the victims who have actually filled out a d.o.d. survey about why they didn't report. the number-one reason given is they didn't think the chain of command would do anything. the second reason is they had feared or witnessed retaliation. they know out of the 10 out of 10 that reported 62% were retaliated against. if you listen to the survivors of these sexual trauma and sexual assault, they will tell you what needs to be done is the decisionmaking has to be taken out of the chain of command in order to create transparency and have that ke decision maker be objective. we have also heard from victims this is the kind of reform that would create more victims coming forward and more continvictionsd
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more consequences. i think that's what you really have to listen to to the people who have lived it. we have a growing chorus of support from veterans organizations. iraq and afghanistan veterans have afforded the legislation as have women's veteran groups and advocacy groups for sexual trauma along with a slew of generals and high-ranking officers who are now retire and free to speak their mind. >> as you know your chief rival probably -- i think that's fair to say to say in this -- is fellow democratic woman senator claire mccaskill of missouri. she disagrees with you, has competing legislation. she says, "it hasn't worked where it's been tried. supporters of this alternative cite a number of american allies that have moved to similar systems but not one of these countries has seen the increase in reporting that proponents promise." why is she wrong? >> i support senator mccaskill's additional reforms. they'll continue to help vick testimony who is report. the reason she's wrong is our
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allies didn't have a problem with military sexual assault and lack of reporting. they changed their systems for civil liberties reasons to say the scales of justice have to be blind. you can't tip it for victims or perpetrators. when the uk changed their system it was because of a murder trial. someone said i can't get a fair trial because my commanders have already decided the case. israel made chair change in 1955 so obviously it wasn't military sexual assault. but their militaries didn't full fall apart the day they removed the decision from commanders. the only thing the department of defense has said the reason they condition do this is it would undermine good order discipline. uk, australia, germany, israel have said when they made this decision it did not undermine good order discipline in any way. >> i believe you have 55 public supporters in the senate for your legislation, but is it complicated at all for your cause, the fact that your chief
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rival in this is a fellow democratic woman senator? >> i don't think so. obviously women are not a monolith. we don't agree on everything. but in our senate chamber we have 17 out of 20 of the women supporting this legislation. in terms of women's voices, we also have the support of the one panel, handpicked by the d.o.d., to advise on the status of women in the military and they overwhelmingly support the aspects of this legislation. they've been impaneled for well over 25 years to pine on these things and in their judgment having seen this issue for decades they believe taking the decision point out of the chain of command is the right thing to do. even secretary hagel has said he placed a great premium on their views. >> i don't want to make light of a serious issue, but your cause got attention in a very buzzy tv series "house of cards" as you may or may not know. take a listen. >> civilian oversight is not the answer. >> my husband is a civilian who oversees the military. are you suggesting that
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civilians can offer no guidance in matters like this? >> forgive me, mrs. walker. i didn't mean to suggest that at all. >> then maybe you should listen to the civilian sit across from you. >> does it help your cause to have a story line? no spoilers. i don't want to ruin this for you, but this is a major plot point throughout the second season. does it help to bring attention in a way like this or trivialize it? >> no. it's another vehicle for victims' stories to be heard. what we're talking about is maybe women have been walking the halls of congress for almost a year now and frankly they deserve a vote. to have more people talking about it in the media and p popular tv series is important. >> senator, thanks for your time. >> thank you. when we come back, pope benedict sets the record straight after rumors swirl he stepped down over corruption in the vatican. what he's saying now about his relationship with pope francis and the real reason he resigned. and even if sandra bullock
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pope ben de-- benedict brea his silence. an allegation surfaced he had been forced to quit. he denied it in a letter to the website vatican insider writing "the only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. speculation regarding its validity is simply absurd." dan browne, you taking notes here? meanwhile, in pope francis' news, he met his mini-me, a very unhappy little boy dressed as him. let's go back to that first story and get some perspective. james barton, editor at large of america magazine and author of "jesus: a pilgrimage." i think some might argue it's a little beneath a pope, even a pope emeritus, to respond to rumors. why write this letter?
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why dignify the chitchat? >> well, in a sense he's trying to help pope francis, i think, by putting to rest the rumors that he was forced to resign. the pope had actually talked about this a few years before with some of his assistants he felt he was too old to continue so, you know, why not put those rumors to rest and help the pope. >> is that your understanding of why he stepped down, because he was too old? >> yeah. and, you know, he had even been talking about pope john paul when he was ill, the possibility of pope john paul stepping down. i know for a fact speaking to high-level clerics that he was talking about this a while before some of these scandals broke. so he's very free man. i thought it was a very humble thing for him to do. >> explain to us why he felt the necessity to address the way he dresses. >> well, there was a little confusion because people thought why should he dress in white, he's no longer the pope, but his point was when i became pope i got rid of all of my old clothes and this is really the only thing he said that he had left
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in his kloss et. so it was for practical purposes he said. >> tell us about the relationship between pope francis and benedict. are they close at all? >> they are close. and i also know that they see each other fairly frequently. pope francis has very warm affection for pope benedict and this is not just pr. i know this from friends who are in rome. there you see a picture of them embracing. sometimes pope francis will go and visit pope benedict in his residence, and i know for a fact also they say the rosary together quite frequently. so it's a very warm relationship. and who else can pope francis look to for experience. >> this was a rare public announcement by pope benedict since stepping down. do you think this is just a sign of what's to come, he's going to continue to write things, continue to address rumors or talk about issues in the news? >> no, i don't think so. i think he's going to stay with his original promise to withdraw. he's really been out of the public limelight. he will probably show up at the
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canonization on april 27th of pope john paul and john xxiii but for the most part he is leading a life of prayer and reading and quiet, which befits an 86-year-old man. >> coming up on the one-year anniversary of pope francis, how would you sum up his year? i feel like this is such a lighthouse because it was just an astounding year for him, but what do you make of it? >> i think astounding is a good word. i think change would be the word i would come up with. he has change sod much not in terms of doctrine, of course, but just in the church's stance and openness and even in simple things like moving out of the apostolic palace into a simple room, speaking more in an inviting way to people, and i think he has the common touch and i think people just love him for it and i'm one of them. >> reverend, thanks so much. >> my pleasure. also in world news, proek for the first time declared publicly he is instructing the pentagon to prepare for the so-called zero option.
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no u.s. troops in afghanistan, no counterterrorism, no advisers. in this in the past has not been the president's preference, but senior white house sources tell me this will be what the u.s. does if afghan president karzai or his successor do not sign off on the agreement that would, among other things, allow u.s. troops to remain in country with immunity from local prosecution. a senior pakistani government official told cnn that u.s. withdrawal would cause a civil war in afghanistan potentially undoing much of the work u.s. trooms have established in the past 13-plus years. so we wondered what do u.s. troops think about that? >> reporter: the possible consequences of a complete u.s. withdraw from afghanistan are now theoretical. but they are not theoretical for those americans who served in iraq. especially those soldiers and marines who fought in fallujah and ramadi. iraqi towns where much american
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blood and treasure was sent and which extremists recaptured in recent months. retired army captain sanchez from queens, new york, served two tours in iraq and fought in the 2006 battle for ramadi, which "time" magazine then called the most dangerous place in iraq and where the pentagon says at least 59 u.s. service members were killed. >> it was a very important time in the iraqi war. it was a very dangerous city. >> sanchez is one of the veterans whose war stories are told in the new show "against the odds," which debuts monday night on the american heroes channel, formerly known as the military channel. >> as i'm coming from the east, i get hit. it was a complex attack. as soon as it came out, we started taking small arms fire. my gunner and my driver both had concussions. i got out of the vehicle.
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i'm on the ground, trying to get the casualties out of the vehicle and trying to take command and control of what was now the middle of a firefighter. and then the sergeant suz killed. >> sergeant lands of bub bock, texas, was 28 when he paid the ultimate price, leaving behind a wife and grieving family. six men in sanchez's company would fall in the battle two from his own platoon. for sanchez, the ability of the iraqi government to fight extremists in ramadi today is what he and his army brothers fought for. >> we fought to give iraqi government, the iraqi people the freedom to be who they want to be so, now their future is in their hands, and to me that is i think the reality of life. nothing i can take away from the
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service that, you know, my platoon did or any servicemen did back in 2006. >> but do you worry at all about afghanistan facing some of the same challenges that iran faced after the u.s. left? >> afghanistan will have to figure out what type of country they want to be. >> you can see more of captain sanchez's story on the new series "against the odds" on the american heroes channel, formerly the military channel, monday night starting this monday at 10:00 p.m. eastern. wolf blitzer has a preview of "the situation room." wolf, chris christie held another town hall today, says he's on the back nine of his career but still has hen pli-critics. you'll talk to one of them. >> he says he's done with politics and his aides say in new jersey, not necessarily nationally. barbara buono has strong views on what he's doing right now, the bridge scandal, why democrats didn't come to her aid in the final weeks leading up to
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the election including the top democratic leadership. it's going to be a strong interview. also michele bachmann will be joining us as well. >> i saw that. you tweeted that. >> i'll ask her to explain why she believes there's no pent-up desire for a woman to be president of the united states. >> controversialial remarks she made to cal thomas i think saying that there was guilt and that's factored into why obama was elected but there isn't guilt for a woman. >> yeah. we'll ask her what she means by that. >> sounds like a great show. looking forward it to. coming up next, batman and the green hornet showing up on capitol hill. these two "a" list celebrities not there to talk comic books. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day.
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he was a matted mess in a small cage. so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. from contractors and doctors to dog sitters and landscapers, you can find it all on angie's list. we found riley at the shelter, and found everything he needed at angie's list. join today at so i got the new nokia lumia icon. it's got 1080p video, three times zoom, and a twenty-megapixel sensor. it's got the brightest display, so i can see what i'm shooting -- even outdoors, and 4 mics that capture incredible sound. plus, it has apps like vine -- and free cloud storage.
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my new lumia icon is so great, even our wipeouts look amazing. ♪ honestly, i want to see you be brave ♪ ♪
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welcome back to "the lead." time for the pop culture lead. ben affleck and seth rogan have more in common that movie
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audiences' wariness at seeing either portray a superhero. they're both bringing hollywood to the hill. they testified separately before members of congress today. ben affleck pushing to raise awareness about problems in congo and rogan appearing on an alzheimer's prevention panel. and while they seemed to be following a certain star-powered playbook to promote their causes, the jury is still out on whether high-profile appearance like these actually work. >> reporter: they may wear suits just like everyone else who approaches those tables, papers in handle and a cause for which to advocate, but let's be clear, folks like these are not giving your average constitutional testimonies. >> that's wonderful! >> from the ridiculous to the impassioned. >> i may just run for office. >> to the down right distracting. >> i became goodwill
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ambassador -- >> when celebrities come to washington, the media and the politicians take notice. but does the spectacle of the star outshine or shed light on the cause they've come to promote? >> often hearings in congress are not about members of congress learning something that they don't already know. it's performance art. if they want to learn about issues they can get it from a book. >> today oscar winner ben affleck arrived in washington to speak about the crisis in the congo. >> pleasure to be at the real state department. i had to fake it for "argo." i get to see the real thing here. >> the "argo" director has brought his cause to the table time and time again. >> my name is ben affleck. i'm working with and for the people of eastern congo. >> and today just a few marble pilars away actor seth rogan testified about the effects of alzheimer's, which his mother-in-law suffers from. sure, these appearances bring some buzz.
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but ultimately does anyone remember why stephen colbert testified before congress? or bob barker? or elton john? or do they just remember that they did with the cause lost in the flash of camera lights? truth is that is up to the celebrity's commitment to the cause and the journalists covering them. to be completely candid, congo and alzheimer's would not be mentioned on my show today without affleck and rogan telling some stories without obvious news events is tough to do. water shortages and developing nations got our attention last year in part because of matt damon's involvement. >> you attaching yourself to this means i will be sitting here interviewing you, talking about an issue i rather wouldn't and people at home, viewers, will be paying attention to an issue they wouldn't otherwise pay aan tension to. >> yeah, that's the hope. >> affleck's close friend co-founded and their pal george clooney is
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a longtime advocate for peace in sudan, even getting arrested outside the embassy in 2012. >> i think we all individually felt that if cameras were going to follow us around, why not -- why not make something good out of that? >> celebrities bring attention to an issue, and if that issue is not the sexiest issue, if you get ben affleck involved, all of a sudden it's a little nfr interesting. >> something politicians have known far while. one group that does not seem to be too impressed by this latest celebrity photo-op. house republicans reportedly turned down ben affleck's offer to set up a similar appearance. the national inquirer is known for salacious headlines, misleading photographs and generally cringe-worthy front covers. one thing the tabloid is not known for, saying i'm sorry. but this week they issued an apology for posting a story claiming philip seymour hoffman was in a gay relationship with
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his friend, david katz. at the time of his death, katz sued the tabloid and reached a settlement requiring the inquirer to take out a full-page ad retracking the story. the tabloid will also fund an award for unpublished playwri t playwrights in hoffman's memory. he was found dead in his new york apartment earlier this month of an apparent drug overdose. the average salary for an astronaut is about $80,000, not a bad haul, but actress sandra bullock could make $70 million by just pretending to be one. once you factor in all the global ticket sales and dvd rentals. she was guaranteed $21 million up front regardless of how the movie did at the box office. it's on pace to surpass the $750 million mark. follow me on twitter @jaketapper and also at the lead.
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jake, thank you. happening now, russian troops shifting warplanes, on alert near the board we are ukraine as pro and anti-russia clouds clash, ethnic tensions threatening to explode. chris christie joking about his political troubles. terrorists rushing an airplane cockpit. the chilling video dramatizes just how quickly it could happen. why some are arguing that post-9/11 security measures still aren't enough. i'm wolf blitzer. you near "the situation room." the fbi had a source inside al qaeda with direct access to osama bin laden eight years before the 9/11 ck

The Lead With Jake Tapper
CNN February 26, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

Headlines from around the globe span politics, finance, sports and popular culture.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Ukraine 13, U.s. 12, Russia 10, Texas 9, Ben Affleck 8, Francis 8, Clinton 7, Us 7, Benedict 6, Afghanistan 6, Jake 5, Chris Christie 4, Sanchez 4, Iraq 4, New York 4, John Paul 3, Pentagon 3, Riley 3, Angie 3, Seth Rogan 3
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